Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday said that the Narendra Modi-led government did not anticipate such nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“Maybe we were not able to convince people,” the Bharatiya Janta Party leader said in an interview to The Indian Express. “Also, Opposition parties started working overtime to spread lies. But we have seen bigger protests against triple talaq and it finally came through. People are slowly realising the truth about CAA.”
Modi claimed the protests against the amended citizenship law, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register in almost 20 districts of Bihar was an attempt by the Opposition to create confusion. “They must remember that the more there is an attempt to polarise through anti-CAA protests, the more counter-polarisation will follow and BJP will get stronger. There have been pro-CAA gatherings...But media is not giving due space to them,” he said.
On the rising number of poor and Dalits joining protests against the citizenship law, Modi claimed that 99% percent of people attending them were from one community.
“When our supreme leader has said NRC won’t be implemented, the matter rests there,” Modi said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He added that the National Population Register was first introduced by the Congress-led government and its data was being used for Census.
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam.
The government’s critics and some protestors fear that the amended law and the National Register of Citizens will be misused to target Muslims since the Citizenship Act now has religion as a criterion. There are now fears that a nation-wide National Register of Citizens will be imposed. The Assam NRC had left out around 6% of the state’s population. Work has also begun on the National Population Register, which is the first step to creating an all-Indian NRC identifying undocumented migrants residing in India.